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Popular Science

The Evolution of Jared Diamond

Joost van den Broek/Hollandse Hoogte/Redux

The author of ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel’ is out with an adaptation for young people of ‘The Third Chimpanzee.’ He also has some strong words for his critics.

It turns out the incident of the chimp who tore off his owner’s friend's face was more family feud than disgruntled pet.Much like the humans he documents who came to rule Earth, Jared Diamond is out with a new book sure to increase his rule in the classroom. Most students known Diamond from the PBS documentary based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel. Now, Diamond is out with a new edition of his popular book The Third Chimpanzee, this time adapted “for young people” by Seven Stories Press and Rebecca Stefoff.

‘You Never Know’

Baseball Books Bring the Heat

Walter Arce/Landov

Wrigley Field, Ted Williams, Nolan Ryan, Sabermetrics, the Pete Rose controversy—a fine new crop of baseball books looks at the old, the new and the very weird.

Sounds of leather hitting leather and leather smacking wood apparently also translate into sounds of pages turning as Major League Baseball (known around the planet as the “the Bigs,” ”Las Grandes Ligas) opens its 162 game regular season. Our National Pastime occasions a plethora of books and monographs dedicated to an array of baseball-related subjects. You can look to George Plimpton and Jacques Barzun for explanations about the attraction that baseball holds for writers.

Fallen Photog’s Gutsiest Shots

Chris Hondros/Getty

In honor of the late Getty photographer, a visual book featuring his most captivating images is released.

Growing Up Absurd

Giving It Up in H.G. Wells’s Home

PAUL COOPER/REX USA

Angelica Garnett's memoir of growing up amid the weirdness of Bloomsbury features the usual literary suspects, including Virginia Woolf, and not a few surprises.

The term "Bloomsbury" is a loaded one. Referring to the literary group of which Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes were notable members, their unconventional approach to relationships, in addition to their contributions to art, literature, and politics, make for fun reading: Virginia Woolf's affair with Vita Sackville West (which inspired Woolf’s novel Orlando), the painter Dora Carrington's devotion to Lytton Strachey (despite him being a homosexual), and Virginia's sister Vanessa having a child with her friend and sometime lover Duncan Grant, despite the fact that she was married to Clive Bell.

Q&A

Weed Made and Ruined My Family

Dokoupil Family

Tony Dokoupil’s childhood was the stuff movies are made of—or, in this case, books.

In his new memoir, The Last Pirate, Dokoupil describes growing up with one of the most successful pot barons of the Reagan era: his father. Smuggling Colombian weed through an old Florida fishing shack, “Big Tony” made his fortune just in time for “Little Tony,” to arrive. So began an early childhood of unprecedented luxury. Caribbean vacations, luxury yachts, exclusive swimming lessons, and the best private school in south Florida. It was a pace too fast to sustain.

Parent Problem

Dealing With Dad the Dealer

YouTube

Big Tony Doukopil was a successful marijuana drug lord in the ’70s and ’80s. To his son, he was Dad. And then, as the son explains in an excerpt from his new book, it got complicated.

The following is an excerpt from "The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana" by Tony Dokoupil (Random House). Reproduced with permission.My father and I are separated by only an adjective—Big Tony, Little Tony—and when I was truly little we toured Miami with our seamless tans, windblown blond hair, and Lacoste swimsuits. My father liked daiquiris, virgin for me and an extra shot of rum in the straw for him.

Speed Read

Duke Lacrosse Flameout

It was a story that had it all: a stripper alleging sexual assault, privileged Duke jocks, and an overzealous prosecutor. The Daily Beast boils down the best parts of a massive new book on the case.

It was one of the biggest cases of schadenfreude in modern legal history: an American public bent on burning at the stake a group of athletes for an alleged sexual assault, only to have the case end in an epic flameout and unequivocal declaration of innocence.In 2006, three members of the Duke lacrosse team, Collin Finnerty, David Evans, and Reade Seligmann, were indicted on allegations that they sexually assaulted a stripper named Crystal Mangum in the bathroom of a house in Durham, N.

Embattled

I Survived the Nazis. And Soviets.

Isolde Ohlbaum/laif

Norman Manea grew up doubly cursed: first he had to survive the Nazis and then the communist dictators in his native Romania. His dire experience forged a writer.

When Norman Manea was five years old, he was shipped to a concentration camp in Transnistria, Ukraine. In 1941 Jews from Northern Romania were deported there, via freight trains, on the order of Marshal Ion Antonescu, the country’s far-right dictator and an ally of Hitler. Technically, in the camp you were not killed, you were left to die slowly. Chronic starvation, overwork, disease, and freezing temperatures were as effective as the bullet, only slower and crueler.

Diversity

Crime and Punishment Chicago Style

Jeff Haynes/Reuters

Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, the author of the new Chi-Town collection of stories 'Painted Cities,' on the books that show real life in Chicago.

Sometimes you set out to find differences and all you find is how much we are the same, which is disappointing because in the big city, in Chi-Town at least, we thrive on differences: North Side vs. South Side, Cubs vs. Sox (White Sox rule), Pilsen vs. Little Village, Black vs. White. Our politics are set up this way. Our neighborhoods are set up this way. To read these five books about Chicago life is to become enlightened to the fact that there is another side to the “struggle,” namely that we are all in it.

Excerpt

‘Tracing the Blue Light’

Paul Fievez/BIPs/Getty

What is it like to realize you have no legs—and that’s why you’ve been left behind by your vacationing family? The author remembers in this excerpt from her acclaimed memoir.

I was almost four when it first occurred to me that no one else was missing legs. Flooded by questions without words to articulate them, I connected images with explanations. Those first confusing moments unravel in my mind like an old film. It begins with me being nudged awake by a waxy moon spilling silver-white light through the window as I sucked my thumb. But it wasn’t my window. I grabbed the bars to pull myself up and thought, “Where am I?” I held my breath and searched for clues.

UNDER THE SEA

Underwater Art Is a Sight to Sea

Jason de Caires Taylor

A new book explores the depths that one artist has gone to create work that not only calls attention to the depletion of coral reefs, but helps to build them back up.

Most artists spend their entire lives hoping to be exhibited at any number of the world’s reputable museums. But, Jason deCaires Taylor has spent the latter half of his professional career placing his sculptures where the majority of art-seekers wouldn’t normally think to look—at the bottom of the ocean. Over the past decade, Taylor’s works cast from real-life models and everyday objects have begun to appear off the coasts of Grenada, Greece, and Mexico.

Novels and Nature

The Timeless Peter Matthiessen

Ed Betz/AP

A peerless naturalist and an even better novelist, the author, who died Saturday, came of age amid a glittering generation of writers among whom he had almost no peers.

Peter Matthiessen was a writer who outlived his time.Matthiessen died Saturday at 86. The literary world he helped found and nurture, and whose landscape he bestrode like the colossus he was—that world is gone.It was a strange world, or seems so in retrospect, built as it was of equal parts meritocracy and autocracy. It flowered in the ashes of World War II, when young authors and editors emerged in this country and wrested control so quickly that it took people a decade or so to take the full measure of the likes of Styron, Mailer, Vidal, Plimpton, Shaw, Baldwin, and Matthiessen, especially Matthiessen.

Revival

The Great New York Show

Getty

Twenty-two years ago, the quintessential Broadway musical ‘Guys and Dolls’ returned to Broadway. Ross Wetzsteon’s description of that hit show is a classic in itself.

Twenty-two years ago a revival of the beloved musical Guys and Dolls captured the affection of theatergoers in New York. The smash hit more than somewhat restored Damon Runyon’s vision of Broadway in our hearts and the production was lovingly captured in this profile by Ross Wetzsteon for New York Magazine.  Wetzsteon was a journalist, critic, and editor in New York City for 35 years. From 1966 until his death in 1998, he worked at the The Village Voice as a contributor and editor, and for several years as its editor-in-chief.

Terse Beauty

The Secret Poems of Afghan Women

Ahmad Masood/Reuters

A landay is a traditional two-line Afghan verse form subversively appropriated by Afghan women to express themselves in ways prohibited by their society.

Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy have made a book that is necessary reading for anyone who has ever made assumptions from a distance about what a burka-wearing woman might be like, and for anyone who cannot fathom how poetry could get you killed. In other words, this book is a must-read for every U.S. citizen.I am the Beggar of the World is a book of poems, war reportage, and photographs. It presents and comments on a set of folk poems—“landays” (pronounced “LAND-ees”)—in translation from the Pashto, and it describes the current and historical contexts of these poems’ production, with a special emphasis on detailed anecdotes drawn from Griswold’s and Murphy’s encounters with their Afghani informants and subjects.

Self-Made

The Man Who Became John Wayne

Scott Eyman’s new life of the actor John Wayne portrays an extremely complicated man who invented his own public persona and played it beautifully.

“Truly, this man was the son of God.” Thus speaks a Roman centurion at the end of George Stevens’s inaptly named The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). It’s a line that always gets a big laugh, partly because the idea of anything so irreligious as Hollywood hokum commenting on the provenance of Jesus Christ is axiomatically funny, but mostly because the centurion is played by John Wayne, a movie star who might have known a son of a gun when he saw one, but who patently knew precious little else.

TV Funhouse

My Rocky ‘SNL’ Stint

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In 1985, Carol Leifer, who was discovered by David Letterman, became one of two female writers on 'Saturday Night Live,' but her time there wasn’t easy, and it didn’t end so well.

Saturday Night Live premiered in 1975, while I was in college, and comedy would never be the same. From the minute the show went on the air, it popped right off the screen as fresh and funny, and it immediately set a new standard for television comedy that continues today. So, in 1985 I was excited as anything when SNL’s creator, Lorne Michaels, returned to the helm after Dick Ebersol’s five-year reign. And even more excited to hear that the show was setting up auditions for new cast members at the Comic Strip, my home-base comedy club in New York City.

Love and Cough Syrup

When Kurt Met Courtney

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On the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death, here's the story of how the romance between Cobain and Courtney Love began.

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love first locked eyes on each other at eleven in the evening on Friday, January 12, 1990, and within 30 seconds they were tussling on the floor. The setting was the Satyricon, a small, dimly lit nightclub in Portland, Oregon. Kurt was there for a Nirvana gig; Courtney had come with a friend who was dating a member of the opening band, the wonderfully named Oily Bloodmen. Already infamous in Portland, Love was holding court in a booth when she saw Kurt walk by a few minutes before his band was set to appear onstage.

Longreads

The Week’s Best Longreads

From the wolf hunters of Wall Street to the China’s crumbling high-speed rail empire, the Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Wolf Hunters of Wall StreetMichael Lewis, The New York Times MagazineHow a band of outsiders discovered that the stock market was rigged — and set out to change it.Chemical ValleyEvan Osnos, The New YorkerThe coal industry, the politicians, the big spill—inside West Virginia’s environment crisis.High-Speed EmpireTom Zoellner, Foreign PolicyChinese rail is sprawling, modern, and elegant. It's also convoluted, corroding, and financially alarming.

Evergreen

Bellow’s ‘Herzog’ Turns 50

Ulf Andersen/Getty

The Nobel prize-winning novelist’s masterpiece has lost none of its charm or its relevance as it hits the mid-century mark.

For Saul Bellow, 1964 was a breakthrough year. With the publication of his sixth book, Herzog, Bellow went from being a favorite of the critics and a select circle of readers to the ranks of novelists whom the public knows and likes. Herzog earned Bellow his second National Book Award to go along with the one he had received a decade earlier for The Adventures of Augie March. But it was a commercial success as well, staying on the New York Times bestseller list for 42 weeks and reaching number one soon after its 1964 publication.

Sacked

I Was Australia’s Anna Wintour

Melbourne University Publishing

In May 2012, Kirstie Clements was unceremoniously fired after serving as editor of 'Vogue Australia' for 13 years. In an excerpt from her new book, she remembers the day it all changed.

It was 10 a.m. on a Wednesday. I had a scheduled meeting with Nicole Sheffield, the newly appointed CEO of NewsLifeMedia, the company owned by Rupert Murdoch that had held the license for Vogue in Australia since 2007. We had met only once before, a quick and pleasant chat in her office in March a few weeks after she had started.I had been working at Vogue Australia for twenty-five years and in the editor’s chair for thirteen. She was my eighth CEO.

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